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08/01 - 2015


On 6th January at 08.24, Solar Impulse left Payerne, its base since February of last year, to fly to Abu Dhabi. It was in the belly of a Cargolux Boeing 747 that the solar airplane took off for the capital of the United Arab Emirates, in preparation for the launch of its attempt to fly round the world, planned for March.
With the help of Cargolux, Swissport, Welti-Furrer, and the Army’s Logistics Base (BLA), about thirty people were involved in loading the aircraft, which had landed late the previous afternoon. The process lasted late into the night and proved to be both complex and delicate, especially finding room in the wide-body for some twenty-five separate components. The trickiest part of the operation was positioning the fuselage and the 72-meter-span wing,  disassembled into three sections that could fit into the aircraft’s hold.
In the end, everything went well. The operation was also a very moving moment. It was not just Si2 leaving Switzerland, but a whole phase coming to an end, so that now the long-awaited round-the-world flight can start. The entire Solar Impulse team is very grateful for the support received from the Municipality of Payerne, and the Swiss Accident Investigation Service (SESA), and cherishes the friendships that have formed during this long period of preparation. Having staged through Basle, the freighter arrived in Abu Dhabi at 19.04 local time (GMT+4).
Photos of the operation are on line.